History

History

Historic image of institute researchers with WEHI van

Beginning

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute was established in 1915, and is Australia’s oldest medical research institute.

The vision was for an institute that would be:

"the birthplace of discoveries rendering signal service to mankind in the prevention and removal of disease and the mitigation of suffering."

Past directors

Burnet and Kellaway
Past directors Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet (L)
and Dr Charles Kellaway

Past directors of the institute provided leadership and vision through 99 years of substantial advances in medical research. 

From the difficult post-war years, through the Great Depression and into major research developments such as immunology and biotechnology, our directors created the environment in which great discoveries were made.

Discoveries

Since 1915 our scientists have been making significant discoveries in immunity, cancer, infectious diseases. These discoveries have advanced our understanding of human biology and resulted in new and more effective treatments for patients worldwide.

Notable scientists

The institute has been home to some of Australia’s greatest scientists, as well as some unsung heroes of medical research.

Historic image of researchers in the labAlumni

If you have worked or studied at the institute - as a researcher, lab technician, visiting scientist, administrator, clinician or cleaner, to name but a few roles - we want to hear from you.

Tributes

We pay our respects to past colleagues, peers, collaborators and supporters for their contributions to the institute and medical research, including:

 

New building being constructedParkville development

The institute’s $185 million Parkville building redevelopment provided seven levels of new laboratories and scientific service areas, doubling our research capacity and providing beautiful new working spaces.

Hear scientists, architects and project staff recount their memories of this exciting building project.

Professor Jerry Adams, Professor Suzanne Cory and Professor Ken Shortman in the lab in the 1970s

Professor Ken Shortman reminisces on his career at the institute

Historic group photo of researchers

Keep in contact and share reminiscences with fellow alumni